Surfing in the Snow

10 Dec

Last weekend, we set off for Gangneung. We left chilly but sunny Yeongju mid-day on Saturday and did not anticipate that the northern Gangwon province would be covered in snow! As our train wound its way through the mountains, snowed-in rivers and salted Christmas trees came into view. Perhaps Baden would not get to surf this weekend.

We arrived in Gangneung late on Saturday and caught the bus bound for Yang-Yang with a minute to spare. We stopped at a few beach side villages along the way without realising that one of them was, in fact, Gisamun, where we were headed. A young boy climbed off the bus and off-loaded his surf board which gave Baden hope that maybe there would be surf tomorrow.

We arrived at Yang-Yang fairly late, booked in a nearby motel, found a delicious ‘samgyupsel’ restaurant (similar to a South African inside braai) and went to bed, ready to wake early the next morning to catch the bus back to Gisamun.

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Dropped off in the middle of nowhere

The next day, the bus dropped us off at the side of the road in Gisamun and all we could see was snow. It honestly felt like we’d been dropped off in the middle of nowhere. We slipped our way towards the pier and saw only a handful of other people crazy enough to be awake at this time of day, in this weather. The surf was small and the surf shops were all closed. We do regularly thank God for GS25s and 7-elevens which sell 1000w hot chocolates and other cheap snacks. This particular convenience store had a huge window and tables where we could sit, eat our breakfast (chocolate flavoured cheese-twirls) and watch the ocean. And what did we see? A surfer paddle out into the waves.

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A quiver of snow boards outside “Surfers”

Baden found “Surfers” – a surf shop from which to hire a 5ml wetsuit, booties, gloves and a board and at 9.30am trudged through the snow to join 2 other surfers in the water.  By the time he came out at 11am, there were 5 other people suited up and swimming out to catch the waves. Baden says the 5ml wetsuits would keep anyone warm.

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Surfing in the snow

The surf shop had a nice communal area with a heater and kitchen where I spent some time reading my book. The man who worked there spoke good English and it reminded me of the excitement of South East Asian backpackers.

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3 Responses to “Surfing in the Snow”

  1. tutortrish December 10, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Wow. What an experience.

  2. Ann Dowie December 10, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Love it!!Rain or snow – surfing he will go.

  3. Adam December 18, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the write up. I’m heading to Surfers in two weekends time and have found some conflicting advice on how to get there. Would you mind posting directions? From what I can tell you get a bus/train to Gangeung, but from there I’m not sure.

    Thanks for any help!

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